By Kellyn Bertsch, age 12
The warm sun rose auspiciously on what would be a memorable day for two young rebels. On April 2, 1775, two audacious best friends planned to meet in Boston, which was flooded with redcoats. Because they vehemently clung to the Patriot cause, they loathed the presence of the British soldiers. Furthermore, they were easily riled after the Boston Tea Party. In a crowded shop, Daniel slid into the wooden booth where Eli was already waiting.
“All of these redcoats! They are patrolling the shops, patrolling the streets, patrolling the entire city!” the resentful rebel ranted.
“I know!” agreed Eli. “King George is a tyrant! Someone needs to show those redcoats we will not stand for their antagonizing king’s taxes!”
“Well, that someone might just have to be us!” declared Daniel.
When they were nearing the end of their conversation, Eli glanced over and spotted redcoats positioned by the shop’s entrance.
“Look! Redcoats, just outside,” deplored Eli, pointing toward the door.
“Exactly! We need to do something about it!” Daniel urged.
Having resolved to protest the soldiers’ presence, Daniel and Eli implemented a plan. The indignant rebels stepped outside the shop and confronted the redcoats. The insurgence spread like wildfire and they were elated to see an onslaught of boisterous citizens join them. Hearing the commotion, a plethora of redcoats aided the two British soldiers, who were flanked by the crowd. Because they sought to squelch a potential riot, the redcoats scanned the crowd, hoping to arrest Daniel and Eli for stirring up trouble.
The two rebels, who discerned that the redcoats were searching for them, hastily darted to the back of the crowd. Daniel kept carving a path through the rebels, but Eli stopped abruptly. Glancing back, Daniel was instantly horrified to see a soldier grasping the back of Eli’s coat. Eli wriggled his arms, slipping out of the coat just as the soldier prepared to arrest him. Frantically the shaken rebels scrambled away. The redcoats pushed through the protesters and promptly pursued the panicked Patriots. Stealthily Daniel and Eli crept to the house of a compassionate patriot named Nathan, who lived on a small farm just outside of Boston. They thought they were safe.
After ten minutes, the rebels peeked out a window. They were distraught to see a band of redcoats advancing. They tried to remain calm as the redcoats checked for the two troublemakers in the last house before Nathan’s farm. Suddenly, Nathan dashed to a closet.
“What are you doing?” Daniel questioned.
Quick as a flash, Nathan produced a box of scruffy clothing. “Here, put these on!” he exclaimed. Daniel and Eli complied. Next, Nathan grabbed a tray and gathered soot from the fireplace, instructing them to cover their faces with it. Their identities cunningly obscured, the rebels appeared to be slaves. As the soldiers pounded on the front door, the sooty “slaves” speedily sprinted through the back door to the field, where they quickly intermixed with the real slaves. They worked. They worried. They waited.
Back inside, Nathan warily observed the soldiers as they continued to scrutinize the house.
“You are sure you have not noticed anyone suspicious traveling through this area?” inquired the commanding officer.
“I’m sure, sir,” Nathan affirmed.
Convinced, the redcoats marched out of the house. Nathan was relieved to see them leave, but was quickly appalled to see the soldiers striding toward the field. Daniel and Eli, pretending to be adept farmhands, glanced over at the approaching redcoats. Although they were filled with trepidation, they endeavored to appear placid. Unfortunately, the commander stopped marching and motioned to Daniel.
“You! Have you seen anyone running by the road?”
Taking a deep breath, Daniel started to answer, “No, sir, we–,” he paused, fearful his speech would give him away. “Nah sah, we ben sowin’ seed, sah.” He held his breath.
“Hmm,” the disgruntled redcoat frowned. “Get back to work.”
Daniel dipped his head in fake reverence as the soldiers marched to the last house in the area. When they believed the danger had passed, Daniel and Eli snuck back inside. They profusely thanked Nathan because the swift and exemplary use of his wits had undoubtedly saved the two rebels